Nanotopographical imaging using a heated atomic force microscope cantilever probe

K. J. Kim, K. Park, J. Lee, Z. M. Zhang, W. P. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports quantitative topographical measurements using a heated atomic force microscope (AFM) cantilever probe. The study compares topographies measured by the cantilever thermal signal to topographies measured by the laser-deflection signal of an AFM system. The experiment used 20 and 100 nm tall Si gratings as topographical test samples. The cantilever heater temperature ranged from 130 to 640 °C, and the cantilever power ranged from 1.5 to 6.6 mW. The measured topography sensitivity, which is the fractional change of the heated cantilever resistance, has a |ΔRcant|/Rcant of 4.5 × 10-5 to 1.1 × 10-3 per vertical nanometer, which is 10-100 times greater than that of similarly sized piezoresistive cantilevers. In a proof of concept demonstration, the heated cantilever measures the topography of a microfabricated platinum line of thickness 100 nm on a silicon dioxide substrate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
JournalSensors and Actuators, A: Physical
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Cantilever
  • Thermal microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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